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The first time you strap a pair of skis or a snowboard to your feet and attempt to glide down a mountain, it can be an intimidating experience. For some, it comes easy and there’s an immediate thrill as they rush down the mountain. For others, the feeling of falling face-first into the snow becomes one they know all too well and it takes some time for their coordination to catch up to them. 

 

Once you get past the initial learning curve of figuring out how to make it down the mountain without falling, you may find yourself wondering what’s next. How can I take this sport to the next level? Enter: the snow park. Created for skiers and snowboarders looking for more of a challenge and a heightened thrill, snow parks are filled with jibs, jumps, and pipes that add varied levels of difficulty to their winter sport of choice. 

 

Whether you are a beginner looking to dive into the exciting world of skiing or a skilled snowboarder on the hunt for a new adrenaline rush, you should know what snow parks are all about. In this complete guide detailing everything to know about snow parks, we will explain what exactly they are, the kinds of features you can find at snow parks, and end with some of our top snow park tips. Let’s get into it! 

What is a Snow Park?

Also known as a terrain park, a snow park is an outdoor recreational complex containing terrain and man-made features for skiers and snowboarders to perform tricks. Think of a snow park as the winter-friendly version of a skate park. Popular ski resorts across North America like Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia are known for having incredible snow parks that attract athletes and amateurs alike from around the world.

Snow Park Features: Jibs, Jumps, and Pipes

Before heading into your first snow park, it’s important to understand the differences between the various features you will come across. The three different types of snow park features are jibs, jumps, and pipes. Let’s break each one down and cover some of the different types of each feature: 

Jibs

These encompass any man-made feature in a snow park that can be ridden by both skiers and snowboarders. Here are some of the most common types of jibs: 

  • Kinks. These are rails or boxes with at least one change in elevation or direction. 
  • Tubes. Ideal for beginner and intermediate riders, tubes are metal pipes that are large in diameter and have rounded tops. 
  • Rails. Similar to the handrail found on a staircase; rails are long, narrow features with rounded or flat tops. There are several types of rails that vary in shape. 
  • Benches. Generally intended for intermediate and advanced riders, benches are designed to resemble your average park bench and provide several different sliding surfaces. 

Jumps

While jibs are man-made features, jumps are generally made entirely of snow. You can find a wide variety of jumps in a snow park that range both in size and difficulty. Here are some of the most common types of jumps: 

  • Hips. These are jumps that have a landing that is perpendicular (at a 90° angle) to the take-off. 
  • Spines. These are similar to hips, except that they have two landings that are perpendicular to the take-off, making them a bit more complex. 
  • Table tops. These include any jumps that have flat tops, making them look similar to a table top. 

Pipes

If you have ever been to a skate park, then you already know what a pipe is. It looks similar to the cross section of a swimming pool, with walls and landing decks on either side and a flat area at the bottom. Here are some of the most common types of pipes: 

  • Mini pipes. The smallest of the pipe varieties, mini pipes are often approximately 4 feet in length but can vary in length, width, and wall height. 
  • Half pipes. These pipes are long, hollowed out, cylindrical in shape, and typically stretch out to approximately 13 feet on average. 

Standard pipes. The largest of the three pipe varieties, standard pipes are generally approximately 18 feet long on average.

Top 3 Snow Park Tips For Beginners

Our Trip Support team has compiled the top tips that every beginner should know before entering their first snow park. With these tips in mind, you will be shredding in no time: 

  1. Start with small features. 

While it can be enticing to start out with the biggest and baddest jumps, doing this as a beginner is unsafe both for you and for the people around you. Start out small with flat boxes and jumps with gentle slopes, then work your way up to the more intimidating features as you get more skilled and gain confidence. Taking a test lap when you arrive at the snow park is always a great idea, as it allows you to familiarize yourself with the park’s features and figure out which ones are best suited for your skill level. 

  1. Respect the snow park etiquette. 

When you go to a snow park for the first time, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other skiers and snowboarders all around you. Before starting a run, take a look around and make sure nobody else was already getting ready to start theirs. Make it known that you are about to take your turn, whether it’s with a thumbs up or a shout to those around you. Most importantly, cheer on your fellow riders when they do something impressive! 

  1. Make a plan.

Before you start your run, think about the features you want to try out on the way down and make a basic plan. This will not only help to build your confidence on the slopes, but will also help to prevent any mid-run stops that could potentially cause collisions with other riders. It’s important to have fun, but it’s equally as important to stay safe while doing it. 

Ready to hit the slopes? Once you’ve decided which snow park you want to check out, you are going to need a hotel and maybe even a flight. These costs can add up! Take advantage of Trip Support’s flexible Book Now, Pay Later model for all of your trip-planning needs. This model allows you to secure your travel plans without paying anything up front. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to shred the gnar! 

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